Everybody, listen up!
Circe by Madeline Miller needs to be in your hands, on your shelf or in your to read list, if not already, because this book is the most mystifying and riveting Greek Mythology book I have ever read!
As someone who literally rubbed off the wrong way with Greek literature and mythology (thanks The Secret History), I didn’t think I’d give it another chance.
But Circe, kept on appearing on social media, in many long lists and short lists for various prizes and I just wanted to know what the hype was all about.
It is a fantasy novel, so all my fantasy lovers can be assured they’ll get the satisfaction of the genre as well.
So, what is Circe about? What is Greek Mythology? And why has this book literally rocked my world?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Greek mythology is an umbrella of stories or myths about gods, heroes, and their wars that have passed down from Ancient Greece from 17-18th century BC. Stories about politics, religion, love and more; one of the most famous contribution (that I know of) is by Homer in the form of epic poems called Illiad and the Odyssey.
Yes, of course, you guessed right, I am buying them soon.
But coming back, these poem have gone through so many iterations of translation, because how else would we have understood ancient Greek.
And this is how out of these tantalizing stories of gods fighting each other, Madeline Miller picked up a story of a young woman, daughter of Helios; the god of Sun and one of the Titans. Her mother is the daughter of Oceanos; the god of the Ocean.
“I thought: I cannot bear this world a moment longer. Then, child, make another.”
In this toxic patriarchal environment, of narcissist gods and the ever present threat of war with Zeus from the mighty Olympians, Circe is a curious child neither powerful nor beautiful like her other siblings.
“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”
You know what? I won’t tell you anything else about this story. You have to read it for yourself.
“I would say, some people are like constellations that only touch the earth for a season.”
What I will say is this: never have I read a more powerful book on how to never underestimate the one you deem weak, worthless, useless or incompetent. How even with their powers and might, those gods couldn’t stand a chance at the feats Circe accomplished.
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
Despite being banished to live in exile on a lonely Island, she made an entire world for herself. Found herself at the turn of major events happening, found love, found vulnerability, found motherhood, and prophecies that turn true, ultimately.
“You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.”
Her parents may not have loved her, but out of all her siblings she is the most powerful in my eyes.
And despite, Greek Mythologies always praising the man for all his wins and victories, with women at the backburner, reading this story showed me how women actually run the show.
“When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist.”
When you first meet Circe you’ll find her a meek, timid girl who is just lacking love and attention from her parents, is trying to seek validation but is rebellious at heart as well. The story shows her journey of defying the status quo and doing what she felt was right.
“But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.”
This is a feminist story written with such beautiful writing, poetic honestly, that it will strike a chord in your heart. It has to!
It is bound to!
“Yet because I knew nothing, nothing was beneath me.”
Circe, is a character that definitely has become close to my heart, and the story; my most favorites of this year. I cannot sing enough praises for this one.
Onto the basics:
- Rating: 5.0 /5.0
- Favorite quote: “It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”
- Reader level: It is perfectly easy.
- Should you read: 1000%.
- Would I read it again: hell yes!
Till next time,